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Monday, 28 September 2015

OnePlus plans to launch budget smartphones

OnePlus plans to launch budget smartphones

Chinese startup OnePlus is attempting to enter new grounds in India, among its top three markets. It is planning its maiden foray into the 'affordable' segment in a bid to grow volumes, and will support the move by starting its own full-fledged e-commerce website next year.

The price of the new device would be kept between Rs 12,000 and Rs 20,000, which means it would be venturing into a category that forms part of the affordable range — Rs 8,000 to Rs 15,000 — which is the most cluttered and competitive in the country. However, it is also a category where a large part of the volume sales happen in India. Currently, OnePlus devices start from Rs 22,000.

"We're introducing a new device by the end of this year. Diwali would be the ideal time, but next quarter for sure," said Vikas Agarwal, general manager of OnePlus India.

"It would be a global launch, but India will be the biggest focus," Agarwal said, adding that the Indian market is set to become the largest for the company from its present position among the top three markets, as its growing faster than any other market. Its other top markets are the US and Europe.

India contributed about 7% of OnePlus' overall sales last year, within just one month of operations. In the quarter to March, over 40% of global sales came from India without any major marketing activities, Agarwal had told ET after the launch of OnePlus Two, the company's second flagship device launched in June.

The new phone will be more of a lifestyle and fashion product than a flagship device, Agarwal said, and it will be more towards the mass market.

To back its move to target a larger share of smartphone buyers, the two-year old startup is also planning to come up with its own portal next year, from where it will sell available devices, Agarwal said.

At present, it has an India portal which redirects consumers to Amazon and Flipkart, where consumers can purchase the OnePlus One or OnePlus Two by using invites. But if the new e-commerce plans take shape, the company could allow consumers to buy the devices from its own site. OnePlus is the only company which issues on-demand and sharable invitations to consumers for buying its phones. "We are looking at this (e-commerce portal) as one model... We're looking at ways to support the backend," Agarwal said.

OnePlus' e-commerce foray, sometime next year, follows Chinese rival Xiaomi, which has made its own website, Mi.com, one of the avenues for consumer purchase, besides physical retail stores of Airtel and The Mobile Store.

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